For black people working in predominantly white professional environments, it can often feel like having two jobs while only being compensated for one form of labor. Of course, if you’re looking for “microaggression suffrage pay” to be itemized on your check stub, you’re going to find yourself disappointed.
So we’re often left to put up with off-color comments and jokes from white co-workers, forced fist-bumps when we go in for handshakes and even being called names that may not be explicit slurs, but have known racially charged histories.
Well, according to KCTV5 News, African American medical technician Trevor Baston is having none of that white nonsense and has filed a lawsuit accusing St. Luke’s Physician Group and St. Luke’s Health System of race, color and sex discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
Baston works at St. Luke’s hospital in Kansas City, Mo. and is alleging that a white co-worker called him “boy” and referred to another black employee as “Aunt Jemima.”
(Note: “Aunt Jemima” appears to be the go-to racist reference white people use against black women. Just earlier this month, The Root reported on a judge being put on administrative leave after referring to a black woman juror wearing a headwrap as such.)
Baston claims that after being called “boy” by a white, female colleague, he attempted to explain to her the racist connotation behind calling a black man that. He suggested that she
don’t let her president get her ass whooped learn to address him by his name, to which she allegedly responded, “You don’t know what you are talking about boy, be quiet boy.”
According to the lawsuit, Baston reported his co-worker’s behavior to his manager only to be told he was “looking at it incorrectly,” that the employee didn’t mean it (I guess someone should look into racism-inducing radiation caused by medical equipment) and that there was nothing that could be done about it.
Additionally, the lawsuit claims that a white nurse expressed to Baston that she fears “big black men.” From KCTV5:
The suit also alleges that a white nurse practitioner asked Baston to stand in the room with her while she was with a patient she called “creepy.” The patient, a black man about the same size as Baston, appeared normal to him, the lawsuit said.
After the nurse finished interacting with the patient — faster than usual — she thanked Baston for standing with her and said: “Sometimes I am afraid of big black men especially ones that look like the guy that killed my brother,” the lawsuit says. Baston then asked her if she was afraid of him and if she realized he was also a “big black man.” She didn’t answer, instead shushing Baston and walking away, according to the lawsuit.
Baston filed a complaint last March with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, despite a manager telling him to keep quiet, the suit said.
The lawsuit alleges that several months after Baston filed, St. Luke’s held an unconscious bias training session which ended in his supervisor invoking an ancient whypipo proverb and saying, “What I want you all to do is just get over it and let the past be the past.”
After that Baston and another black employee went on medical leave because “of the stress and anxiety” the incident caused, the lawsuit says. He is suing for economic and emotional distress damages.
We hope he gets all his coins and that the racists in St. Luke’s Hospital’s staff get all the pink slips.